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REPERTOIRE

Nubian

  • style(s):
    • Nubian
    • World
  • label:Piranha Records

Nubian music is a legendary and storied affair. “On entering paradise you may hear the sound of nightingales and Nubian singers…”, so said the stories of the One Thousand and One Nights. Notwithstanding, traditional Nubian music is threatened as much to be almost extinct – for a simple reason: the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1950s drove more than 100,000 Nubians from their homelands, drowning large parts of their culture as well as their homelands.

Both the Nubian people and their rich music tradition can count themselves lucky that a couple of highly committed musicians attended so successfully to keeping the traditions alive in the years after displacement – among the most renowned of them are Piranha artists Ali Hassan Kuban and Mahmoud Fadl (both with his ensemble Salamat and with a number of solo albums).

These forcibly-exiled musicians not only kept their traditions alive – they also refreshed them with the sounds of vibrating Cairo and the international pop music successes of the time, most notably the variety of African American styles that drew their rhythmic fundament from Africa anyway, and thus appealed quite naturally to the musicians on the old home continent.

Soul music spiced up the old Nubian folklore and the traditional wedding music with a funky groove and powerful brass accompaniment. Jazz chipped in the virtuosity of its soloing instruments – the saxophone, guitars, keyboards. The result was a new breed of Nubiana both remaining true to the heritage of the ancestors and joining with international entertainment.

When things go really right – as with particular recording such as Mahmoud Fadl’s Umm Kalthum 7000 – it goes full circle: out into the big wide world, into the future and back to its own roots, in this case the legendary Egyptian singer who died in 1975, and who has never yet yielded a comparable successor.

Eventually one might turn up. Straight outta paradise. And certainly of Nubian descent this time around …

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